Houston, we have an opportunity

Morgan Stanley''s Michael Dee to relocate from Singapore to Houston.

After six years in Asia, Morgan Stanley's loquacious Singapore CEO is to move back to the US to head Morgan Stanley's Houston office. Dee's move comes after three years in Singapore and three years in Hong Kong where he ran the bank's debt capital markets group.

Replacing him as CEO for Southeast Asia will be Ronald Ong who is being promoted from his position as head of investment banking. Kate Richdale, head of global capital markets in Singapore is being promoted to head of investment banking for the region. Ong and Richdale will continue to be based in Singapore.

Dee says the move back was instigated by colleagues in the US, who wanted to see if he could replicate the type of business structure and culture he had built in Singapore. With 20 business groups and 200 employees, Dee describes the Singapore office as a mini-Morgan Stanley. And he feels the success of that office has been down to getting all the divisions to work with each other as much as possible.

"We've created an identity and culture in the Singapore office that people like," he says. "This leads to greater cross divisional co-operation - as allowed within the law - and means we can experiment and find new ways of doing things." In particular he points to a much closer working relationship that now exists between Morgan Stanley's private bank and the rest of the firm, especially the FX, commodities and global markets divisions.

But the move also marks the end of a chapter for one of Asia's premier deal merchants. Taking pride in the transactions he has done, Dee points to Singapore Telecom's acquisition of Optus as one of the highlights of his career in the region as well as the continued work Morgan Stanley has done with Singapore Power. This includes the takeover of two Australian power companies (Powernet and most recently TXU), as well as a $2.7 billion bond deal.

While not working, Dee has also put down deep roots in Singapore. He is on the government's Economic Review Committees for CPF, tax, wage and land use reform; he has been on the Economic Development Board and the board of Singapore Management University, the new biz school in the city state; and he is on the board of the Asian Civilization Museum.

He has also founded the local Make-a-Wish charity, for which he recently raised $100,000 by running the Napa Valley marathon. "In the last three years I have got some balance in my life at last and have been involved in a great Singapore experience," he says. "I am going home with a truly global perspective."

He will officially be leaving in mid to late June.